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Coca-Cola has teamed up with Apple to launch a new European music website, after declining sales recently caused it to close its own MyCokeMusic website.

The new site will be launched in Ireland, the UK, Germany, Austria and Switzerland, with the roll out beginning next week. The launches will be accompanied by live music events, podcasts of which will be available on the new site. However, Irish fans will have to wait until September to gain access to the new website.

The partnership with Apple forms part of a new music strategy for Coca-Cola, which just weeks ago closed down its own online music store. iTunes' dominance in the online music market in Europe was cited as one of the main reasons for the failure of MyCokeMusic.com

The new Coca-Cola site, which features iTunes integration throughout, will offer links to music and information specifically focused on giving emerging artists some exposure. In Ireland, the UK, Germany, Austria and Switzerland unsigned artists will be able to upload their songs to the site.

Gavin O'Doherty, senior brand manager with Coca-Cola Ireland believes the new site will become a platform for emerging artists who will be able to use the site to reach a wider audience.

"In Ireland this new partnership is a great opportunity to extend our already growing involvement with young people and music," said O'Doherty. "Some incredible young talented bands are emerging throughout the country and they now will have an opportunity to showcase their music to a global audience."

As part of the partnership with Apple, Coca-Cola is planning a song giveaway on its products, with millions of iTunes music tracks up for grabs during the promotion.

This link up with Coca-Cola comes as Apple announces that it has already sold more than 200m songs through iTunes in Europe since its launch, with 150m songs sold in the past year alone. The store operates in 17 European countries.

"The number of songs downloaded and purchased from the iTunes Music Stores in Europe have tripled in the past year," said Eddy Cue, Apple's vice president of iTunes.

Cue said the company was "thrilled" that European music fans had shown such enthusiasm for the service.

However, it hasn't all been smooth sailing for the music firm. Apple has fallen foul of some European governments over its failure to allow other music players to use its iTunes music store. Scandinavia and France are just two of the places tackling the firm on its strict copy protection.

Apple recently won a victory in France, with the ruling that some of the provisions in the country's law designed to force iTunes to open up to other music players are unconstitutional. However, the company has yet to get a resolution on the Scandinavian complaint.

Copyright © 2006, ENN

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